Jesús Fructuoso CONTRERAS (1867-1902), important Mexican sculptor
"Awakening", Art Nouveau marble sculpture, Paris, 1890s
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"Awakening", this outstanding Art Nouveau marble nude sculpture was executed in Paris in 1890s by important Mexican sculptor, draftsman, graphic artist and painter Jesús Fructuoso Contreras (1866 Aguascalientes - 1902 Mexico City). A few similar figures by him arrived at international auctions high results until, 29000 € (hammer price).
Father of Carlos C., brother of Baudelio C. Studied: 1873-78 workshop of Plácido Jiménez, Aguascalientes 1881-87 Fine Art School in Mexico City, under Miguel Noreña (1886 director of the bronze casting of his Monument a Cuauhtémoc on the Paseo de la Reforma) 1888-89 with government grant in Paris; worked in the bronze foundry of Gagnot; studied stone carving in the workshop of the architect Eug. Colibert. 1892 founder and president of the Ateneo Mexicano Lit. y Artístico; 1898 artistic director of the Mexican Pavilion at the Paris World Exhibition of 1900 (there he was appointed Knight of the Legion of Honour), 1901 Inspector de Mon ica; 1902 Inspector gen. de Academy des Artes Industriales. Teaching activity: from 1890 lecturer in drawing at Esc. after de BA; Dir. of the Wkst. for bronze casting of the Esc. after de Artes y Oficios; from 1892 technical Dir. of the Fundición Artíst. Mexicana; from 1893 in the workshop for Alfarería Artíst. employed. 1886 burn injuries on the foot during bronze casting work; 1898 Amputation of the right arm. Monument to C. in Aguascalientes. – Academic naturalistic Sculptures, some with indigenistical Content such as the 12 bronze reliefs of Aztec gods and kings for the Mexican pavilion at the 1889 World's Fair (today: Casa de la Cult., Aguascalientes); clear influences of Rodin can be felt in the allegorical depictions of female nudes. Malgré tout, c. 1898, and Desepoir, 1900 (both marble; Museum National de Arte), also impressionist.-animated works such as the bronze head Beato Calasanz after a poem by Justo Sierra (terracotta study, c. 1897, mus. " M. Bello", Puebla). In addition to small works in bronze and clay, numerous public commissions for monuments, such as the 20 statues of politicians from various Mexican states for the Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, including Fray Servando Teresa de Mier; Hermenegildo Galeana; Manuel Lopez Cotilla; Francisco Primo de Verdad; Juan Antonio de la Fuente, 1894-1899. Among other things, the project of the mon. Fountain of Peace, ibid., and a Mon. a Benito Juárez for Ciudad Juárez. C. also made designs for Archit. (Mexican Pavilion of the WA from 1900) as well as med. and vases.
WORKS: AGUASCALIENTES, Mueum de Aguascalientes. AMECAMECA/Estado de México: Bust of Benito Juárez, bronze, ca. 1895 (further casts in other cities). CHIHUAHUA: Mon. for Benito Juárez. GUADALAJARA: Mon. for Ramón Corona, 1896. GUANAJUATO, Teatro Juárez: Lion, bronze, 1894. – Mon. a la Paz, bronze/marble 1898. MEXICO CITY, Acad. de S.Carlos. – UNAM, Esc. after Preparatoria: Justo Sierra, bronze, ca. 1898. – Inst. Nac. de BA. – MN de Arte. – Mus. de la Ciudad. – MN de Hist.: bust of Gabino Barreda, marble, ca. 1898. – Mon. a la raza: Cuauhtémoc; Itzcoatl; Nezahualcóyotl; Totoquihuatzin, Bronze Reliefs, 1888-89. – Panteón Francés: Almas blancas, marble, ca. 1901. PUEBLA: Equestrian statue of General Ignacio Zaragoza, bronze, 1896. – Paseo Bravo: Mon. for Nicolás Bravo etc., bronze/marble, ca. 1897; Mon. for Gabino Barrreda, bronze, 1900. – Mon. a la Independencia, marble/bronze, 1898. SALTILLO/Coahuila, Alameda: Mon. for Manuel Acuña, marble, ca. 1898. ZACATECAS, equestrian statue of General Jesús González Ortega, 1898; Mon. for Nicolás Bravo; Mon. for Ignacio Zaragoza.
EXHIBITIONS E: Mexico City: 1895 (gem.), '98 (terracotta) Casino Nac.; 1990 MN de Arte (Retr.; K: P.Pérez Walters; Lit.; WV). – G: Paris: 1889 (Bronze Med.), 1900 WA (Grand Prix); 1899, 1900 Salon.
BIBLIOGRAPHY ThB7, 1912. EAAm I, 1968; Inc. de Mexico, III, Méx. 1987; DA VII, 1996. – J.Fernández, El arte del s.XIX en México, Méx. 1961 (new edition 1983); M. Monteforte Toledo, Las piedra vivas. Escult. and soc. en México, Méx. 1965; R.Tibol, Mexican. Art of the 19th and 20th centuries, M. 1970 (The Art of Mexico, III; Spanish ed.: Méx. 1968); E.O'Gorman et al (ed.), Arte mod. y contemp., Méx. 1971 (Cuarenta ss. de plastica mexicana, 3); F. Ramírez, La plást. del s. de la Independencia, Méx. 1985
Literature: in German: artstist general lexicon by Thieme/Becker 1999.